It’s baffling that even in 2020, so many affordable and even a few high-end phones do not support HD streaming on apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos and Google Play, irrespective of the subscription pack.
Primarily, the issue is the missing Widevine DRM Level 1 (L1) certificate which is required by all major content streaming platforms for HD streaming. But even if your phone has DRM L1 certificate, there are chances that it doesn’t support HD streaming on Netflix or Prime Video (as is the case with new Realme 6-series and Redmi Note 9-series phones).
That’s because apart from DRM L1 certificate, additional approval by services like Netflix and Amazon Prime is also required for HD streaming. Devices that aren’t acknowledged by Netflix won’t support HD streaming even if they have DRM L1 certificate.
We never quite noticed this omission before it was pointed out for OnePlus phones. Now, OnePlus has had an immaculate track record for the last two years and Samsung hasn’t missed out on HD streaming support since the start of 2019.
At the same time, many affordable phones from Motorola, Asus, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi that we tested are still defaulting.
List of phones that support HD Streaming Under Rs 40,000
We have mentioned a few phones that we have tested ourselves for HD streaming support. The list is not exhaustive and contains phones that we have come across.
- Samsung phones – All Samsung M-series and A-series phones launched in 2019 support HD Streaming (except for Galaxy M10). Galaxy A7 (2018), Galaxy A9 (2018) from last year support HD streaming as well.
- Realme Phones – Realme XT, Realme X, Realme X2, Realme X2 Pro, Realme 5 Pro, Realme 5s (Realme 6 Pro and Realme 6 have L1, but HD streaming is currently not supported)
- Xiaomi Phones – Redmi K20 Pro, Redmi K20, Poco F1 (Redmi Note 9 Pro and Note 9 Pro Max have DRM L1, but do not support HD streaming on Netflix and Prime videos)
- OnePlus phones – All OnePlus phones launched in 2018 and 2019 have HD Streaming support
- Vivo Phones – Vivo Z1x, Vivo V17 Pro, Vivo U20, Vivo S1 Pro
- Asus Phones – Asus 6Z, Asus ROG Phone 2
- Lenovo Phones – Motorola One Power
- Huawei Phones – Honor View 20, Honor 20
- LG Phones – LG V30, LG G7 ThinQ (not on Amazon Prime), LG V40
- Nokia Phones – Nokia 6.1 Plus, Nokia 7.1, Nokia 8.1 Plus
Apart from the phones, we have mentioned, all high-end flagship phones from LG, Huawei, Samsung, Google, and Nokia have HD streaming support. We do cover this aspect in our reviews, and if you want to check for a phone not mentioned in this list, you may search for the review of that particular phone on our website.
How to check if your phone supports HD Streaming [Video]
What is Widewine DRM certification and why is it required?
Widevine Digital Rights Management (DRM) standards have been defined based on device security for content protection. They are meant to prevent copying or piracy of data that these services push across the internet to their users.
Services that use DRM can stream befitting content quality depending on the security and hardware at the user end without much work on the server end.
Widevine standards integrate Common Encryption (CENC), licensing key exchange, and Dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP (DASH) for secure transmission.
There are three certification levels: L1, L2, and L3. Your phone needs to be L1 certified in order to be able to stream HD content.
Not only Android phones but many Laptops and most Browsers on Desktop support L3 certificate only. For instance, Chrome Browser on Desktop is L3 certified and can only stream in HD using Netflix and other services.
Why Manufacturers don’t add DRM L1 certificate?
The most important point to note is that all modern chipsets are compatible and Widevine doesn’t charge any licensing fee. So, the only reason why manufacturers are ignoring this is oversight and because users are not particularly asking for this.
Can you get Widevine DRM L1 certificate with OTA update?
Yes, earlier it wasn’t possible to push Widevine DRM L1 via OTA update, but this changed after 2017. Poco F1 was the first phone to get DRM L1 certificate via OTA update.
How to check Widevine DRM Security Level on your phone?
If you want to check the DRM security level on your phone, you can simply download the free DRM Info App from Play store.
The app is pretty simple. All you need to do is open it and check DRM level under “Google Widevine Modular DRM” heading. If you see L1, your phone supports HD streaming. If you see L3, your phone only supports SD streaming. Android phones only have L1 and L3 certification.